The prices of food items have increased by approximately 30 per cent in different parts of Nigeria over the last one year according to the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, (NBS). The price of 1kg of onion rose from N202 to N270.59 showing a 33.38 percent increase. The average prices of local rice and imported rice also increased by 31.87 percent and 38.62 percent respectively.
President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed concern over the sudden spiral of food prices in the country. President Buhari in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, regretted that the increase in prices of food came at a time when the economy was already mired in a slowdown occasioned by the global coronavirus situation.
Nigeria’s inflation rate increased to 14.23 per cent in October, further leading to the increase in the price of food items. Inflation has been on the rise since the country shut its land borders to trade in August 2019. The situation worsened with the emergence of the coronavirus which affected the global economy.
Nigeria’s economy is yet to recover from the coronavirus effects and the plunge in crude prices. The President assured Nigerians that the situation was transient as his administration had already begun looking and putting in place measures to ameliorate the situation.
Insurgency, conflict and displacement have been prevalent in northern Nigeria for over five years. The displacement of farming communities has led to a decline in the cultivation of farmlands, resulting in lower yield per hectare. Communal clashes, banditry and farmer-herder conflicts in the north-central region of Nigeria continue unabated and are now taking over neighbouring states. It is fast becoming a critical challenge.
Nigeria is endowed with good arable land, weather and water supply and has the potential to be self-sufficient in food production. The country could even go beyond sufficiency and become a valued exporter of food.